Back  Next 

Introduction |  
Origins of the Postal Service |  
Dog-Teams |  
Types of Dogs |  
Dog-Team Equipment |  
Weight Allowances for Dog-Teams |  
Dog Food |  
Hardships |  
Conclusion |  
Mail Routes |  
Mail Routes Map |  
West Coast Map |  
Philately |  
Endnotes |  
Bibliography |  
Credits |  


Well before the 1890s, Native peoples and Hudson's Bay Company employees were accustomed to using dogsleds to move people, food and trade goods, but the 1890s was seen as the decade of dogsled transport.

Dog-teams played an important part in the transportation of various goods in the Yukon during the gold rush; they were used to freight wood and to carry the household effects of gold seekers, as well as to transport the mail. In Dawson, "when the town was only a few months old by 1898 some four thousand dogs were employed regularly by carriers, miners and others in and around this great mining city and within a matter of three or four years this number of dogs had doubled!"24

Dog-Team Express, Dawson, Yukon, 1898
Dog-Team Express, Dawson, Yukon, 1898
Photo: Larss & Duclos
© Public domain
National Library and National Archives
of Canada, C-005630

Private express services were often run by an individual with a dog-team. This service was offered mainly in winter, but could be available at other times of the year, when the sled was replaced by a cart.

The dogs could travel over frozen lakes and rivers, they could pass through dense forests, and they were capable of covering long distances, day or night, often in difficult conditions. "From point to point [in Yukon] the mail was carried by teams of strong, well-fed dogs drawing five to seven hundred pounds [250 to 350 kilos] of precious letters."25 By 1898, dog-teams had made possible an extensive mail service in the Yukon, bringing mail in and out of Dawson two or three times a month.26